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Are There Degrees of Sin?


There are different types of sin, and sins have varying earthly consequences, but there are no degrees of sin. We sometimes think of “little white lies,” which we think are not as bad as other “big lies,” but the Bible simply says “all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8). The eternal consequences for sin are the same for all sins, even if they are sins we think of as only “minor sins.”

John wrote that “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4). To transgress the law of the land is to commit a crime. To transgress the law of God is to commit sin. The literal meaning of the word sin is “to miss the mark.” When we sin, we have missed the mark of following God’s will.
While there are no degrees of sin, sins may still be classified in certain ways. Some sins are moral sins, such as adultery and drunkenness, specifically condemned by the Bible. Other moral sins, such as gambling, are condemned in principle by the Bible. John sums up these works of the flesh, saying, “All unrighteousness is sin” (1 John 5:17).
Sins of commission are sins of disobedience to God’s will. When Lot and his family escaped from the wicked city of Sodom, God warned that they were not to look back. When Lot’s wife looked back, she became a pillar of salt. Her sin was not a moral sin, but it was disobedience to God’s command (Genesis 19:26).
Another type of sin is that of not doing right—sins of omission. It is not good enough just to refrain from doing those things God has condemned. We must also do what God has commanded. James wrote, “To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). 
The Bible warns, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23); and “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The foremost problem in the world today is a sin problem. Man is a sinner, and the consequences for sin must be paid. The wonderful news, however, is that even though man sins against the infinite God, He has provided a means of escape. Paul wrote, “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). By obeying the commands of the gospel of Christ, we can have that eternal life through Jesus Christ. —Bob Prichard

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My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
James 1:2
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